Sexually transmitted diseases in Florida are on the rise, with high numbers of infections among young people aged 15-29.
And state health officials are launching more campaigns to decrease the troubling statistics revealed in a state report.
Of the various STDs, chlamydia is the most commonly reported in the state, and the number of new infections continue to climb each year, according to the Florida Department of Health.
In the latest available state data, there were 105,058 overall cases of the disease in 2018. Among people 15 to 29, Florida reported 85,278 infections of chlamydia, a bacterial STD that can be cured with medication.
Chlamydia can infect both men and women, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency’s website says chlamydia “can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. This can make it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).”
State health departments have seen a troubling upward trend in the number of new infections overall. Data shows an increase of the number of cases of the STD by the thousands over the past years.
In 2016, the department reported 94,719 cases of the disease, which increased to 100,002 in 2017.
The health department identified groups with the highest risk of contracting an STD: young people aged 15-24, gay and bisexual men and those having multiple sex partners.
The health department says 3 out of 4 people with STDs in Florida are between the ages of 15-29.
In terms of rates per chlamydia infection, Leon County, the home of three major colleges and universities, had the highest rate. Other counties with the highest rates of infections in 2018 include Gadsden, near the state capital; Duval and Orange – the big-city areas of Jacksonville and Orlando, and Alachua county, home of the University of Florida.
“Chlamydia can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, or anal sex with a person who has a chlamydia infection,” according to the health department’s website.
“Chlamydia infection is easily treated with the medicine azithromycin (also known as Zithromax). People with chlamydia infection may not know they have it because most people have no signs or symptoms.”
The department lists symptoms of the disease for men and women on its website.